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. tonight a look at the aging pipelines that imperial our nation's oil and natural gas system and the accidents that have come when those pipelines fail. we'll look back at the deadly jet fuel explosion that shog and shocked walnut creek. plus, how do you learn to fight fires at an oil refinery? quial show you straight ahead on a "a second look."
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good evening. i'm julie haener and this is second. gas line explosion earlier this month, investigators have focused on the 30" steel pipe that made up the pressurized line. people in the oil and gas industries have long known that steel pipes, especially older, uncoded ones can corrode and eventually rupture. four years ago, bp found coercion in its pipeline in alaska and it to shut it down for repares. here is ktvu's health and science editor john fowler from 2006. >> reporter: bp says it found 16 miles of pipeline so severely corroded it could take months to repair. >> only when we're absolutely satisfied that those lines are in good condition, will we bring those back into service. >> reporter: bp acknowledges that it hadn't clean out its aging pipes in at least 14 years, saying it didn't appea to be necessary. the industry standard is every few months. a bp leak and spill in alaska earlier this year sparked a
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criminal investigation. experts say corroded pipes should have been no surprise. >> they have known about that problem in all likelihood for a long period of time. >> reporter: uc berkeley civil engineer robert bee used to work for bp on pipeline coercion and showed us what industry experts know too well, how bacteria eat right through pipe. >> this is solid steel. >> reporter: and bacteria get into the pilot when drillers pump seawater into petroleum to maintain pressure turning whoa is called sweet crude into sour crude, significantly increasing problems, like this. indern pipeline inspection robots called pigs, if used, can discover coercion. >> finding it is the name of the game. >> reporter: in san francisco today, federal, state and private oil-spill management teams prepared for a major oil- spill disaster drill.
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later they week they will simulate a tank explosion and bay clean-up they say hulls also show increased coercion now, but spill responders say tankers are not longer their biggest worry. >> we're getting less and less oil spills caused by tank essential vessels and more and more oil spills by pipelines. this month's explosion and fire in san bruno was reminiscent of another natural gas line explosion in new mexico ten years ago. although it was in a more remote area, the new mexico ast actually killed more people, 12 died, making it the second worst gas explosion in american history in terms of death tolls rearview mirror vorces in new mexico continue to look for clues into the deadly natural gas explosion that one likened to a giant flame thrower that engulfed a group of weekend campers. >> the evidence out there at the scene indicates it was horrendously hot.
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it incinrated everything in its path. >> we thought it was a large house fire and relatively close to carlsbad, but it must have been so large for us to have seen it, because it was about 25 miles away. >> reporter: authority say six campers died at scene of the accident and six others were flown by helicopter to eye burn center in lubbock, texas, some 150 miles away. four of them died saturday evening just officials say hatch the fatalities were children, among them, 6-month- old twin girl and their 22- month-old sister. authorities say all the victims were members of two families fishing and camping along the river. investigators say the underground gas pipeline ruptured 200 yards east of the makeshift camp and ignited. the resulting blast ripped a hole in the hard, scrabble ground 20-feet deep, 85-feet
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long and 25-feet wide it was a cruel act of fate that anyone was in the area when the gas line broke. the gas company says the line had been inspected on the ground and by air during the past year. >> plast year there were 163 significant events involving leaks in natural gas pipelines in the ut. as a result ten people died and 59 were injured. over the past 20 years the number of accidentsipvolve natural gas pipelines going up to more than 2800 and in almost a thousand those, someone died or had to be hospitalized. 66% of those accidents involved pipelines more than 40 years old. with pipes that lack the anticoercion codings required in pipelines today. distill drom on scing how a leaky gas line led to a deadly explosion and fire near sacramento. and a bit later, the blast that rocked walnut creek, involving
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a jet fuel line many didn't know was there.
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. >> on christmas eve, 2008 a natural gas explosion in rancho cordovao near sacramento killed a 72-year-old man and injured five other people. it occurred in a line that state inspectors had checked earlier in the year and found leaking. the federal investigation into the explosion found that pg&e crews used the wrong kind of pipe to fix the line two years earlier and that people in the area had reported the smell of gas before the explosion and fire. sacramento station kc ra cover the plast at the time it happened in december of 2008. >> the first one went boom and the second one went book and in a bling of an eye, bam, it took your breath away. >> reporter: christmas eve in rancho cordova is a day many
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neighbors will never forget. a natural gas explosion sent people flying from their home. they were the first on scene before the second one went off and crumbled the home. >> you don't have time to have emotions or feelings, but it's an adrenalin rush. >> reporter: did you think your life and your safety? >> i believe it's in god's hands. i believe in god, so i wasn't worried about myself at all. >> we have been complaining for over 24 hours about that gas leak. i don't understand. it's a recurring leak. >> we'll be looking into fight finding the exact location location of the leak in the days ahead. >> had was gas in the area the other day and they didn't. >> reporter: anemal person returned to see what was left of her mother's home next door. >> my mom was in bed and it blew her out of her bed. >> reporter: her 76-year-old mother and her 50-year-old sister survived the blast. >> when it's christmas or not,
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i'm not just happy my mom and sister and our dog is safe. >> reporter: as a family salvaged what they could, everyone in the neighborhood is satt sad their neighborhood bill pana didn't make it. they say he is the one that smelled the natural gas on tuesday and tried to get a hold of pg&e. the next day his home blew up. >> they should take it seriously and come out immediately. >> reporter: 11 years earlier, rancho cordovau was the scene of another fire fueled by eight natural gas line can, but the cause was not the age of the line, but a mistake by crews rip current moments after the drilling rig hit the natural gas line, flames shot straight into the air. the fire some ten miles east of sacramento was a few feet from busy highway 50 unierupted before 11:00 this morning. the free was shut down in both
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directions, creating a huge backup, as traffic was detoured from 50. heat from the fire was so intense, firefighters couldn't get chose to it. the only way to put it oz outwas to shut off the gas line and that was done about a mile away. >> we use it to move gas from canada into the central valley. so it's under a lot of pressure and it carries large volumes of the gas. >> reporter: several blocks around folsom boulevard and hazel, near the scene were closed offer for hours. a nearby furniture store wooz evacuated. >> the company came through the entrance and said kuala 911 we have an explosion and fire. >> reporter: officers say for the driller on the rig it was a close call. >> these guys are very, very lucky. you can smell gas right away and anything around it can ignite it, even the drill can ignite it. >> reporter: it took two hours for the fire to burn itself
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out. minutes later, highway 50 re- opened and traffic got going again. investigators say the gas line was supposed to be marked, and wondered why the drill operator didn't know it was there. the scene was sale sealed offs a crime scene, in case there are criminal charge. >> when we come back on second, a backhoe hitted a buried powerline, but how did this one turn so deadly. and a bit later, fighting refinery fires and who trains the brian levitan men and women who take on this dangerous work. frrps
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. >> six years ago a massive fireball and smoke cloud filled the sky over walnut creek. it was touch off when a backhoe operator cut eye powerline carrying jet fuel. the accident could kill five and severely injure four other people. we recap our camera now, beginning with john sasaki on the scene, november 9th, 2004. >> re 2004. >> i thought it was an
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earthquake, like everybody else. huge explosion, huge, like nothing i have heard before. >> reporter: the fire burned fiercely for an hour and a half. the fire spread tie nearby home and prompted the evacuation of all the students at this high school and muirwood elementary school and hundreds of apartments in the immediate area. >> i'm evacuated my kitty cat to mike sure she is safe. i just finished being evacuated from my work police and now i came home because i saw the plume was right over my house was. >> and in pe class, they fell over playing basketball. they just fell on the ground after it happened. so everyone thought it was an earthquake and they were like, evacuate and we saw the big smoke. >> they took everybody off, because it was getting too crowded. people don't live hero unidon't understand, and hick making
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jokes. this is serious. >> reporter: it's clear that this broadway extension prevented any more damage. it transports water from the diablo valley to the san juan valley. to put out the fire, safety officials capped the pipe in concord and alamo and let the fuel burn itself out, but tonight the fire sparked up again. >> it had a repressurization of line and subsequent reignition and then it died down again. >> the next day a small fire would flare up again, as investigators began to sort out what happened. here is ktvu's maureenhirina. >> reporter: the fire was
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nothing compared to yesterday's compassive explosion. today's fire was left to burp itself out, but contra costa filer officials said it would be some time before the area was safe enough for crews to look for missing workers. they were believed to be inside a water pipe that was being instled for east bay mud when the pipeline was punctured. q. we're hopeful that we have kinder morgan's work continue through the night, but as i said to actually put somebody into the east bay mud pipeline, unless everything is right isn't going to happen tonight. >> reporter: he says a robotic camera will be used to help locate the two missing workers. investigators believe a back ho' ruptured the line and the fire was ignited by welders. kinder morgan says their pipeline was clearly marked and just visited the site on monday. safety declines require that kinder morgan be notified if workers are within five feet of
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the pipeline, but say they were never call. >> our primary guard is the safe operation of the pipeline and public safety and we would have never aloud them to get that close if we knew. >> reporter: today east bay mud say it was the responsibleility of the subcontract to make that contact and state senator tom torlakson said he was assured it did not play a part. >> i special spoke with at board of directors member, john coleman and he a shower me, obviously that their agency wanted all the safety protocols followed and while thought time targets they weren't overriding of any safety considerations. >> reporter: there are still questions to be answered. cal osha is the lead investigating agency, but did not answer our calls. their priority is to secure the pipelines and recovery two
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missing workers as soon as possible. >> six months later, state investigators levied leafy fines on kinder morgan. ktvu's john fowler brought us the details in this report in may of 2005. >> the incident does involve potential criminal acts. >> reporter: cal osha today levied its stiffest possible civil penalties, fines totaling $140,000 for "willful violations by pipeline owner kinder morgan." >> based on our investigation, kinder morgan is primarily responsible for the accident itself. >> reporter: the high pressure gas pipeline runs along broadway and today work remains suspended. they say kinder manager jogged around a new removed oak tree. he said he followed the law and marked the pipeline in maps. investigators say contractor mountain cascade hit the bend with a back ho', causing the
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explosion. cal osha fined the contractor $22 each and mountain cascade said it did nothing wrong and will appeal deficit citation. corolla engineering and east bay mud were find, but the utility blamed kinder morgan. >> all of us could have done more to stop this tragedy, but the owner should know.
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. those who fight oil refinery fires are a courageous breed, but it takes more than courage. it takes special training. in 2002, ken wayne visit a place in nevada where many get that training. >> reporter: refinery fire are among the most spectacular and
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most dangerous fires to fight. fuels and gases under pressure can explode, and flames get out of control. pouring water on these inferenceose usually isn't enough to put them out. firefighters often must go into the hereto of blaze to reach cutoff valves and manually shut down the flow of fuel. it's the only sure way. bay area is thome half a dozen major refineries, each with its own fire department. the first to respond, if something goes wrong. firefighters from around the world come here to the stark nevada desert, 250 miles east of reno to learn how to put out refinery fires. they train at this mockup of an oil refinery. >> we walk a very i have thin line between absolutely safe
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and absolutely releaseiac. realistic. >> reporter: this is the university of nevada's find science academy, run by denise mccluskey and they are battling a blaze fueled way combination of diesel and hexane. >> hexane is a component of gasoline, and those two fuels mixed together create a very realistic, very hot and knocking smoaky, live-fire training experience and being able to provide that experience is so important, because that might be what they would find in a real refinery or processing plant fire. >> reporter: temperatures can treech 1300 degrees, hot enough to warp the steel platform if it's not hosed down. >> it gets scary with the flames around you and you have
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to stay calm. >> reporter: in this exercise, the adac team advances to the filer in unison, calling out each step. the goal is to reach that shutoff valve and stop the fuel flow, but the valve is engulfed in flame and in a refinery fire it could be hidden by swirling smoke or darkness. hanging wires and cable and trip hazards and choking gases are all obstacles. firefighter guy wallace has the job of reaching through the nozzle spray, inches from the flames to turn the valve. >> everyone has to hold the position unireach in there. if you wreak the patter of the water, the fire is going to come back through and create a vortex and shoot the flame back at you, but as lock as you don't break the water partner, you are okay. >> reporter: if the weight pattern isn't right? >> if it's not right, the seven other guys will catch on fire. >> we have net revenue burned anybody to a point that you woo
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consider serious and we pride ourselveses on providing safe, flexible training that gives every responder who trains here a realistic and live training experience. >> reporter: while the attack team focuses on valve, the others protect the flank, protecting efforts from the swirling burning fuel on the water. burning fuel drips down also from overhead platforms. >> all it takes is a spark and we spray them down and get them out. >> reporter: of. the flames can wrap around. >> the wind will wrap around plus the ground fire and that
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is why the safety is so important to wipe out the ground fire to protect your attack team depositing in. each one on the line has an assignment. >> reporter: 5,000 gallons of fuel can be burned in a single day of training. at the levers of these pyrotechnics who ignites propane gas to keep them on their toes. >> i make it more realistic. >> reporter: what does that do whether do you that (get their attention. >> reporter: sometimes things get a little too real. nobody has been seriously injured, but there have been flash burns to firefighters who haven't covered up properly. >> occasionally, but it's the best place for it to happen, because it's real life and it's going to happen. it gives the respond the experience. >> reporter: most of the students undergoing the training are not professional firefighters, but volunteers where they work. why would they be willing to
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put their lives at risk? >> it shows dedication to keeping the place safe for everybody working there and the community around the area. >> it's exciting. when i first got into it, i didn't know what i was walking into, but actually, i enjoy it so much, i would want to be a fireman out this, just helping people. >> the bond that we have, we're here together and everybody is look federal court you and making sure you do the right thing. we leave here and go pack and we're still strong and tight and everybody is like a brother to you. >> reporter: most these volunteers return next year for another round of training, training that they hope they never have to use in real life. and that is for this week's "a second look." i'm julie haener and thanks for watching.
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Second Look
FOX September 26, 2010 10:00pm-10:30pm PST

News/Business. Highlights of past news stories. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Sacramento 4, Ktvu 3, Nevada 3, Cal Osha 3, Julie Haener 2, John Fowler 2, Bp 2, New Mexico 2, Us 2, Alaska 2, Unierupted 1, Bam 1, Station Kc Ra 1, Brian Levitan 1, Rancho Cordovau 1, Uc Berkeley 1, Ut 1, Plast 1, Thome 1, Ken Wayne 1
Network FOX
Duration 00:30:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 93 (639 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480

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on 9/27/2010